Settle in kids. This may be a long one.
Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to come back.
In May, I found out the sharp cramp in my side was actually a torn abdominal muscle. My PCP did not do an x-ray like I suggested, and just thought it was a fluke, and it would go away with rest and muscle relaxers. It would be fine for a few weeks, then I’d push it a little harder, and would end up laid up in bed for a week or so. Of course, I still had to work, but I’d take a day off, or go to work, get the essentials done, then come home, take muscle relaxers and be in bed by 8pm.
Finally, in August; I decided there was still something wrong with me. I searched the area for an ortho- specialist who would work with abdominal (muscle) issues, and came up empty-handed. After much exasperation, I settled on going to our chiropractor (I went to him often when I was a gymnast and my mom still goes to see him. She has brought him fresh baked cookies at Christmas for the past 30 years). I trust him, which is big. But, more importantly, I thought he would be able to help.
Finally, I got the help I wanted
My first visit was a mixture of nerves and excitement. I was nervous he wouldn’t be able to help me. And I was excited that I may have finally found a solution. He met with me; we caught up about the past ten years (apparently my mom alluded to Dan and I getting married… Hopeful exaggeration I’m sure), and I jumped right in with my problem. I told him I want x-rays, I was sure I was dislocated something, or that I had a broken rib or something I hadn’t even thought of yet.
The x-rays came back as this: My left hip was all out of line, and had pulled my sacrum (your very lower spine) to the left. My upper back was being pulled right and down, pulling my shoulder out of line. The diagnosis was pretty clear- my body had been pulling itself apart, resulting in a severe ‘crunching’ of my right abdomen. I wasn’t getting full circulation to the area. Nerves and arteries were likely being pinched, causing extra pain on top of the pulled abdominal muscle(s). Basically, it would have never healed on its own.
He popped my shoulder and hip back into place, and did a little treatment on my upper spine (by your shoulder blades), and by my sacrum. He told me the plan was to see me weekly for a little while.
That night is hard to describe. I could feel my abdomen again. It felt like every breathe opened it up. I also felt a lot of pain. Your body gets used to misalignment, and being corrected hurts.
He urged me to run further and further each week. At first, I ran maybe a mile; afraid of pushing it too far.
Fear lingers, even through recovery
I am still afraid. Each time I run, I try to push it a little extra. But there is a wall I can’t push past. It keeps me from giving it my all. I am afraid that I will literally give it my all, and be left with nothing. Nothing meaning I will be laid up in bed for another week or two.
I’ve added strength training. But I can only do it once per week. I often ‘don’t have time’… The truth is I’m afraid when the strength training hurts. I really can’t feel it my body when I’ve pushed it too far. So I back off quicker. I don’t always complete a workout (which makes me feel weak- mentally and physically). I am learning to accept this, but it is a hard struggle.
This summer, I was pretty depressed about my injury. I had to choose between doing a 10-min run or hanging out with friends, because I knew a run would put me out for the day. I wouldn’t be in ‘a little pain’, but the kind of pain where sitting up hurts. Holding a conversation with people, laughing, leaning forward; all of it put in pain. So I would stay in. I lost a little bit of the vitality that makes me who I am.
I was so mad about it. I was mad that Dan was forced to be around me when I never wanted to go anywhere or do anything. Like I was a rock, weighing him down. I’d get mad at myself for getting upset about it. I’ve learned to just live the hand you are dealt.
The good news is
I’m done with all that. I have acknowledged I have been experiencing chronic pain. There are good days and bad days. My good days are getting better and better, and are more often. My bad days are fewer; and although they upset me, the pain isn’t as bad as it was over the summer. I’ve owned up to the fact that the muscle relaxers help me on the bad days. They keep me still and tire me out, which helps my body heal. I am not weak because I choose to stop a workout, or take muscle relaxers, or go to bed at 9pm to ensure extra sleep. I am healing, I am getting stronger; all of it is necessary to get there.
So the most recent update-
The most I’ve ran since April is 2.95 miles, which I did on September 19 (and celebrated with Dan and Dave, pizza and beer). It was at a 10:22 pace, which is a lot slower than my former 3-mile pace, but I was able to complete it; so it was a day of celebration.
Last week, I ran 6 miles total; broken over 3 separate runs, and I swam ~20 mins one night. For the most part, I felt okay; good even. That is very different than June/July. celebration.
My work schedule is a little chaotic (working til 7 or 8pm), so this week is less than last week.
Overall, my goal is to complete 5 miles (running without stopping), within the next month. I plan to do the Ridgewood Turkey Trot (5 miles) no matter what this year. I may have to walk some, and will probably finish a LOT slower than in years past, but I will finish it. celebration.
If by February, I can’t run a decent long run (8-10 miles), I will defer the Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh’s inaugural year. As it is, I’m not crazy; I plan to drop down to the half. I am hoping that I can slowly build over the next few months, and begin ‘training’ in the new year.
So that’s my injury story. I’ve been avoiding writing about it. Partly because it makes me sad. Partly because I’m still in the middle of it. Partly because it had consumed my life for the past six months, and I didn’t want to give it any more power over me. But I needed to write it. This is one of those ‘blogging for me’ moments.
And anyone who reads down this far, run a little extra/ push a little extra for me. Because I can’t, but so badly want to. Set your goals a little higher than your comfort zone. I’ve always ran because I work with people who inspire me. Their health made it hard for them to dream of completing a marathon, so I ran with them in mind. It’s very strange for me to be on the other side now, even if its temporary…